World champion gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo, hurdler Eric Shawn Cray and tennis phenom Alex Eala will banner the biggest batch of arrivals for Team Philippines on Tuesday in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
They will be accompanied by a large wave of athletes, coaches and officials from 10 sports where twin sprinters Kyla and Kayla Richardson, fencer Samantha Kyle Catantan and the locally popular women’s national volleyball team have been booked.
“We are ready to receive our athletes and coaches and extend the assistance they need once they arrive here,” said Commissioner Ramon Fernandez of the Philippine Sports Commission.
A total of 193 athletes, coaches and officials, including the members of the media, will set foot in the Vietnamese capital on the same day with the PSC staff and the national team secretariat on hand to facilitate their arrival.
“They have to be free of distractions so they can focus on their respective competitions ahead,” added Fernandez, the country’s chef de mission to the Games.
Yulo claimed two gold medals and five silvers, installing him as the Filipino with the most significant hoard of medals back in the 2019 SEA Games in Manila. Joining Yulo is Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya and therapist Junpei Konno.
The Filipino-American Cray defended his 400m hurdles title and set the SEAG record in the event in the past four editions of the biennial meet since 2013 Myanmar while the 16-year-old Eala, debuting for the national team in the Games, is the No. 2 ranked junior player in the world.
Volleyball celebrities Alyssa Valdez, team captain Aby Marano and Jaja Santiago are the anchor of the PH women’s spikers along with outside hitters Jema Galanza, Ces Molina, opposite spikers Kat Tolentino, Mylene Paat and setters Kyle Negrito and Iris Tolenada.
Making the team doubly formidable in their quest for a medal following their training camp in Brazil with coach Jorge Edson Souza de Brito are middle blockers Ria Meneses, Dell Palomata, Majoy Baron and liberos Kath Arado and Dawn Macandili.
Multiple SEAG medalist Richard Gonzales and 2018 Youth Olympian Jann Mari Nayre of table tennis will be joining them as well as tennis players Jeson Patrombon, Francis Casey Alcantara, Treat Huey and wushu’s Agatha Wong, Daniel Parantac and Divine Wally.
Women’s volleyball and men’s volleyball have a total headcount of 38 players and officials while gymnastics has 22 athletes and coaches.
Majority of the athletes and officials from badminton (19), bodybuilding (13), fencing (28), table tennis (17), tennis (12), athletics (8) and wushu (17)will likewise depart from Manila two days prior to the opening ceremony on Thursday along with the PSC medical team (6) and members of the media (12).
Athletes from rowing, chess, kurash, pencak silat, men’s 3×3 basketball, women’s basketball, golf and triathlon/duathlon arrived over the weekend after entries from kickboxing, handball, men’s and women’s football have settled.
The main bulk of track and field athletes and officials (50) will be here on Wednesday, including pole vault Asian record holder Ernest John Obiena. Joining them are Philippine entries from esports (25), billiards (10), bowling (13), cycling (16), golf (2), jujitsu (9) and swimming (3).
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